Dwayne Johnson’s Black Adam finally made his DCEU debut after years of production delays. It made a nice first impression, with many new characters introduced and epic cameos from some familiar faces. Black Adam is almost as invincible as Superman, but we’re also introduced to something that changes that – Eternium. So, what is Black Adam’s Eternium?
Eternium is an element that nullifies Black Adam’s powers and makes him vulnerable, much like kryptonite makes Superman vulnerable. Without Eternium present, Black Adam and Shazam are essentially invulnerable.
That being said, it’s not like Eternium is just around every corner, but it’s easier to obtain than it is to obtain kryptonite. I was excited to see the film introduce Eternium to the DCEU, as it has a prominent role in the comics as well. Let’s explore Black Adam’s Eternium in detail, including its place in the comics and its potential future in the DCEU.
What is Eternium in the DCEU?
Black Adam just hit theaters worldwide on October 21, and it was an amusing flick in the DC Extended Universe that did a lot to open a ton of possibilities for the future of the franchise. It introduced the titular character, Black Adam, who is portrayed by Dwayne Johnson.
Essentially, Black Adam has the same powers as Shazam, as they got the same powers obtained from the same wizard in the same place. However, unlike Billy Batson’s Shazam, who’s nothing but good, Black Adam is a more ambiguous figure – he’s an antihero, at best, leaning more towards being bad than good.
There’s also a whole bunch of new awesome characters getting into the DCEU, namely the Justice Society of America, including Doctor Fate, Hawkman, and other classic DC comic book heroes. However, Adam likely tops them all off when it comes to sheer power. That is until somebody gets a hold of Eternium.
Eternium is a material made out of small shards of the Rock of Eternity. If you remember, the Rock of Eternity is where Shazam got his powers, and so did Adam, and as we see in the film, it’s the only thing that can take away those powers as well.
It works much like Kryptonite works against Superman, with slight differences in terms of its effects. Essentially, when Black Adam is exposed to Eternium, it hurts him and takes away all his superpowers. When Black Adam caught a small projectile filled with Eternium, it exploded, dealing a major injury to his body and causing him to lose consciousness.
That being said, it’s unknown if it could ever kill him, for instance, if he were exposed for a long time. We know that Superman would die if the exposure were strong and long enough, but in the DCEU, we haven’t seen or heard enough to say if the same goes for Adam and Eternium.
I’m saying that because it could play a major role and have important consequences for the future of the franchise. You see, in the post-credit scene (stop right here and skip the next paragraph if you don’t want a MAJOR spoiler for Black Adam), we finally get official confirmation that Henry Cavill’s Superman is back in business.
Dwayne Johnson talked about wanting this to happen for a while now, and we got the first glimpse of Supes and Black Adam on screen together. They don’t really fight – Superman just comes to talk to Adam, but it’s obvious that the producers are setting up a future conflict between them. It might be a future team-up, too, but that’s very, very unlikely to happen.
If the two were to fight, it would be very important for one to know about the other’s weakness and the extent of damage it can cause – it could be detrimental to who wins and who loses. That being said, let’s see what role did Eternium play in the comics.
Does Eternium appear in the comics?
Eternium does appear in the comics, as well, the first time being in Legion of Super-Heroes Vol. 4 #110 in 1998. It has much of the same effects on Black Adam and Shazam but a slightly different backstory. In the comics, Eternium was retrieved as shattered fragments of the Rock of Eternity, which was destroyed by dr. Savant to try and rid the universe of magic.
In the movie, however, it was shown very early in the film to be mined by King Anh-Kot, the guy who Tet-Adam was a slave for. That means that, although it has pretty much the same effects as Kryptonite on Superman, it’s still easier to come by. I mean, it’s not like you can just send someone out to mine some Kryptonite to make projectiles and go after Superman, am I right?
Anyway, Eternium returns to the comics several times, usually being the MacGuffin object that drives the story where Shazam and/or Black Adam’s enemies try using it against them.
Which is more dangerous – Black Adam’s Eternium or Superman’s Kryptonite?
That depends on who you ask, of course. If you ask Adam, he’d certainly say Eternium, whereas Supes would have a different answer. However, when it comes to ordinary humans that aren’t really affected by either, I’d say Eternium is more dangerous. Not in terms of hurting them but in terms of being able to weaponize it.
As I’ve mentioned, Eternium is still easier to come by than Kryptonite, so one can always find it and keep Black Adam in check. I mean, there’s enough of it around that they could afford to make rockets filled with it and blast them at Adam, right? You don’t see any Kryptonite rockets flying around, blowing up in Clark Kent’s face.
Because Kryptonite is so harder to come by, it’s harder to keep Superman in check and use his weakness against him than it is with Black Adam. Luckily, Supes is a good guy, so nobody really has to keep him in check. With the other guy, I’m not sure if that’s the case. I can’t wait to see what goes down between them and who prevails in the long run.